Viewpoint: The Process of Prognostication

Forecasts are an inexact process, yet they are a regular part of our lives. The best example of this would be the weather forecast. We all know that the prognosticators are frequently wrong, yet we continue to check the news or look at the app on our phones to see what Mother Nature is sending our way – even if the outlook for three days from now – or even three hours from now – is often incorrect. It is human nature to seek at least an educated guess as to what the future may hold.

Forecasts are rampant throughout modern media as well. Sports fans gravitate toward the projections for their favorite sport, and their favorite team. Will my team win the championship this year? Will it even make the playoffs?

Political coverage is full of forecasts – from who will be nominated for certain offices to who will win to how the corresponding agendas will impact us in coming years.

It’s in our human nature to forecast. I’m guessing that almost every child has been asked what he or she wants to be “when they grow up.” In the second grade, I came home from school and said, “Mom, I know what I want to be when I grow up.”

She replied, “What’s that?”

I exclaimed, “A paleontologist!”

She replied, “What’s that?”

Okay…so my forecasting skills were a bit off at that point. But back then, the year 2000 seemed far in the distance – like something from science-fiction movie. At that time, I don’t think I could even fathom what 2019 would have in store (although I did assume that I would own a flying car by now). And my forecast for my career changed several more times throughout the years before I landed in journalism. But, just like that second-grade version of myself, my forecast for what I would do with my life got at least a bit more accurate as I got older and more informed as to the likely outcomes.

As with any forecast, the odds of being correct are better – at least hypothetically – the more informed the forecaster is regarding the topic. Obviously, there are always exceptions to that notion when it comes to forecasting. For example, we all know the experts at ESPN are probably going lose a good portion of their projected winners every year during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, while Barb from accounting ends up with a winning bracket based on which team has the more imposing mascot.

But, all things considered, we turn to experts for the best and most likely projections for what the future holds. With that in mind, we have compiled for you the insights of outdoor power equipment (OPE) industry leaders in our annual OPE Industry Forecasts coverage (beginning on page 16). Their projections will not all end up coming to fruition, but I thank them for being bold and providing us with their expert viewpoints. Taken together as a whole, the comments of our expert respondents paint a picture of where we are headed in 2019. Within the Industry Forecasts section, you will find their outlook for which aspects of the industry will be sunny, what storms you may encounter this year, and which areas of the OPE industry are still a bit hazy.

Of course, the actual weather itself will always have a strong impact on the state of the OPE industry. But what Mother Nature has in store in 2019 is anybody’s guess.

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year, and a healthy, safe and prosperous 2019.


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